Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The latest pension court battle between the NHL and its players may look minor compared with the previous one, when the owners were caught with their hands in the till, but it will be a watershed moment for union boss Paul Kelly.
It is not important that he wins the fight, only that he is willing to wage it. By doing so, he should satisfy a small but influential group of his members who remain suspicious of anything that smacks of a cozy relationship with the NHL.
From Jason Kay at The Hockey News,
There are a handful of players – guys between the ages of 23 and 25 who’ve been in the league a few years and have had the opportunity to make a big splash – who have fallen short of expectations. It’s their time to show whether they’re going to enter an upper stratosphere or remain in the OK-range.
Here, in alphabetical order, are seven guys I’d like to see more from:
Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta, 24 (drafted second overall, 2002).
The Thrashers goalie was a two-time THN minor pro prospect of the year. His career goals-against average is a middling 2.82 and he has yet to win a playoff game.
from Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star,
Former hockey enforcer Brandon Sugden will take his fight on the road – if he has to – to get a retirement rule altered so he can return to the league.
“I’ve got a call in to (NHL deputy commissioner) Bill Daly and I hope to talk to him, but if I can’t I’m going to drive to New York and talk to him in person,” Sugden said yesterday.
Sugden says he will hop into his truck Monday morning and head to New York if his reinstatement bid continues to stall through the weekend.
I heard the NHLPA’s Glenn Healy on Toronto radio yesterday and he was asked what the NHLPA can do about this, Healy responded basically nothing. the five teams preventing him from attending the NYI camp would have to change their minds.
Retired hockey player Eric Lindros is among the world’s top 10 most generous celebrities.
Lindros made No. 9 on the list, which is compiled annually by The Giving Back Fund, after contributing $5 million to the London Health Sciences Centre, a London, Ont.-based hospital where he was treated.
from Ray Slover of the Sporting News,
Let’s admit this much: An NHL presence in Europe makes sense, if only to fend off the Continental Hockey League (KHL). We don’t need to see KHL czar Alexander Medvedev pounding a shoe at an IIHF conference to know there’s a cold war on between the old boys of the western world and the mother Russians.
But the last thing the NHL needs to do is pull its attention away from its own nest. At the risk of sounding protectionist and isolationist—but yes, I am a bit ist about this—Gary Bettman’s crew must take care of its own before it goes off on some overseas adventure.
“I think all your viewers know that hockey is the greatest game in the whole wide world. It’s actually not a game. It’s a religion. So I think you can understand it’s a religious obligation to be involved in the game. It’s fun, it’s a passion. I play it regularly. I played it Friday night, and I’ll play a couple of times this week. It’s passion.”
—Jim Balsillie speaking to Tech Check at CNBC this week, when asked about his continuing aspirations to own a NHL team
From Evan Weiner at NHL.com:
Scapinello will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 10 for his body of work, which included 2,500 regular-season games and 426 playoff games, all consecutive, as he never missed a game between 1971 and 2004. He was called the best linesman in the game in 20 of his 33 seasons; he worked 20 Stanley Cup Finals and three All-Star Games. He also worked the 1998 Winter Olympics. But according to Morel, Scapinello was one of those guys who made training camp fun.
“He juggled, he was pretty good,” said Morel. “He was pretty agile. He was good on a one-wheeled bike. Sometimes he brought that to training camp and show us what he did during that summer to practice that balance and it was OK.”
Of Note: Scapinello published a book last year titled, Between the Lines: Not-So-Tall Tales From Ray “Scampy” Scapinello’s Four Decades in the NHL
from William Houston/David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The NHL is aiming to have teams based in Europe within the next 10 years, the league’s deputy commissioner said yesterday.
“As time goes on, you’ll see us making increasing movement into Europe,” Bill Daly said in an interview. “Certainly, it’s a possibility that within 10 years time we will be playing games there.”
Asked whether he viewed European expansion within 10 years as a good possibility, he said: “I hope so. But again, I think it’s a long way between here and there. And I think all the pieces have to continue to line up in order for that to happen.
“So, certainly, we would hope that would be the case. But I can’t say with any degree of certainty at this point.”
Update 11:09am ET (alanah): From Pierre LeBrun at ESPN—
There remain hurdles, to be sure, serious ones. For starters, there’s the issue of travel. That’s obvious. But I believe the one issue that worries the NHL even more is European sports fans generally aren’t used to paying the same kind of money for tickets as North Americans. Getting fans in Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic, etc., to pay out bigger amounts for NHL games will be the real test if and when this ever comes to fruition.
The NHL Players’ Association hopes to see a pension dispute with the league solved in court.
The NHLPA announced Thursday that it had filed an application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice regarding an interpretation of the league’s pension plan.
The issue relates to the calculation of the death benefit for players with NHL service prior to July 1, 1986. The NHLPA believes widows and other beneficiaries of players who passed away before taking their pension were paid less than is required by law.
The NHL disagrees.
from Jim Kelley at Sports Illustrated,
Protection is the most oft-stated reason for the overall lack of change. That’s valid, but only to a point. There is new equipment on the market that is so good that serious goalie injuries, once the bane of the game, are virtually non-existent. Slimming down the equipment without threatening the health and well- being of the players is known to be a doable deed.
What seems to be the obstruction here is that no one has or is willing to exert the necessary authority to make change happen. The goalies have power on the ice, with the players’ association, and with a strong, powerful voice in the media.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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